Google Home can now recognize more than one voice. Which means, anyone in the house can use it to activate the lights. Not just your Dad. But why is this important? Because it’s something that Alexa doesn’t have. Or at least not yet. And the bigger reason, as I just mentioned, is that anyone can use it in the house. But is that really a good thing? On one hand, it opens up the possibilities for everyone in the house, but on the other hand it means anyone can do anything. Right?
It is a bit of a double edged sword. Let’s think about it from the perspective of being able to order things online through these “home” devices. Having the ability to only recognize one voice means that only one person can order. And presumably that person is an adult. So if my twelve year old can now use this home device, can they order on my behalf? And if the answer is yes, then there is a problem. But if the answer is no, then we’re ok. Meaning, there are safe guards in place that are going to stop certain people from being able to use it for these purposes. On the other hand, can my kids use it to turn on the lights? I’m hoping, and guessing that there is a way to identify the voice profile and include or exclude certain rights within the system.
Continuing on this idea of making purchases without your consent. … Read the rest
Google Earth Updates Include 3D Panoramas and Virtual Tours
Google Earth has introduced an update with the ability to view spaces in 3D. But not just 3D, it also allows you to pan around the space itself. Imagine being able to see some of the great wonders of the world without having to leave your house. Google is giving people access to experiences that they might not otherwise be able to have. Which is incredible, isn’t it? This is also an amazing learning tool for children. Geography was always one of the courses that I excelled in during my high school days. Imagine what I could have done with this kind of tool!
But let’s look at the system itself before getting into it’s pros and cons. Google Earth is getting rid of the desktop version, and now running it as a web-only application. Making it easier for people to use. No longer having to download the cumbersome application onto your desktop. But what the update actually offers is guided tours and 3D viewing. Which lets you experience the world in real time.
An interesting additional feature that is available is the ability to look at some places as seen through Planet Earth. Including commentary from David Attenborough himself. This honestly blows my mind. I’m a huge fan of the Planet Earth series so this is right up my alley. But will this feature bring more users to the platform? I’d like to think so. Or at least maybe people like myself.… Read the rest
Silicon Valley is Lobbying the Government to Keep Net Neutrality
There is movement afoot by the current Administration to weaken rules around net neutrality. And the large web companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter are lobbying the government to not let that happen. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well… if you read between the “government speak” lines, it translates into the possibility of you paying more to access the internet. Let me take a step back and explain what net neutrality is. In general, the regulations stipulate that all data should be treated equal. Meaning, if you are streaming a movie on Netflix, that data is the “same” as the data used to download a song from iTunes.
That definition in itself might be a little vague, so let me put it in these terms. If there are no rules around net neutrality, Internet Service Providers (like Verizon and Comcast) could charge you more to stream that movie, than it does to download a song. Net neutrality puts regulations in place so companies can’t do that. As an example – right now you might pay $50 a month and you get unlimited bandwidth at a specific speed. Without net neutrality, you might pay $50 a month to watch Netflix, and $10 a month to download music. Now, this is extremely simplistic and I’m not sure what the rules would look like, but you can see why this might be an issue. Right?
Further, you could see stipulations being placed in other areas. … Read the rest
Better Google Calendar Integration is Coming to Outlook for Mac Users
I wonder if everyone is as confused as I am when you read about Microsoft’s plan to update Outlook to allow for better Google Calendar integration? I honestly had to read the headline at least three times to be able to understand it. Oh and I forgot one thing – it’s specifically for Mac’s! Is your mind blown yet? Google + Microsoft + Apple. No wonder there are issues with syncing. So let’s take this from the top. Microsoft has released a version of Outlook which is for Mac’s only. The reason being that they want to be able to test Google Calendar and Contacts integration.
Right now this version is available world wide to Mac users and it’s available without an Office 365 subscription. This preview is only available until June 30, 2017 and the company is looking for testers who do not regularly use Outlook for Mac, but instead rely on the Google apps to end up at the same place. Confusing, huh? Well, maybe not. What Microsoft is doing is two fold – 1) trying to improve their product (good for them), but also 2) trying to integrate an existing product into theirs.
I can kind of see the benefits for using both Outlook and Google Calendar. I honestly like them both. But by allowing a better integration of the two, I think they are opening themselves up to new customers. And perhaps they’re targeting Mac users for a couple of reasons. … Read the rest
Has Google Been Paying its Female Employees Less? And Are You Really Surprised?
The United States Department of Labor has initiated a lawsuit against Google. It alleges that Google has been paying it’s female employees less than their male counter parts. Now, I don’t mean to sound cynical, but how is this news? Good job on the DoL initiating a lawsuit, but we know this happens. Don’t we? If we really want to get into it, there are some races that are paid even less. It’s a possible double whammy if you’re a woman and not white. But I’m not going to go down that path. At least not right now.
A solicitor for the DoL has indicated that they are still investigating, but that they have evidence that the company is discriminating against women. I really am holding back on what I feel like is common knowledge. One could make the argument that we haven’t had evidence that this takes place. But I would ask – we don’t? I guarantee you, if I look at the wage of a male counter-part of mine, he makes at least 20% more than I do. Why? Because we still live in a sexist (among other things) society. We live in a society where the man has to be the bread winner in the family. And heaven forbid that there might be a single mother out there trying to make ends meet. But go ahead, pay her less because she’s just a woman. (Note, these comments are dripping with sarcasm)
With the emergence of fake news, it was only a matter of time before someone developed something that helped us decipher fact from fiction. And that someone was none other than Google. Well, they might not have been the first, but when they do something, they do something. Google is working with fact checking agencies such as Snopes and PolitiFact to ensure that you’re getting accurate information. Hoping to bring legitimacy to search results. There have been so many “news” stories over the last year or so that were so extremely outrageous. But as consumers, I think we fall victim to the fake news fairly easily. Why would a reputable news source provide you with something that wasn’t news?
I don’t think that’s the intention, but you pick up a story and you run with it. Well… it’s not the intention of the reputable news sources, but there are people out there that want you to believe things that aren’t true. Can someone say “propaganda”? That being said, will this Google service legitimize the news? Or is this a way to placate the masses?
Let’s look at how it works. First, Google has to decide if the search is worthy of fact check notice. If it is, the fact checking data will be placed at the top of the search results. Letting you see exactly what the situation is with that particular search, and subsequent search results. The fact checking bots only look at certain research sites, and then Google uses an algorithm to determine whether the information is coming from an authoritative source.… Read the rest
These are the Best Tech April Fool’s Day Pranks this Year
I know there is no way you were able to get to all the April Fools pranks happening so we did you a favor. Here are the best tech ones in one spot. The T-Mobile one is my favorite. I mean I would actually order it on Amazon if it was real. The Google Ms. Pac-Man game was actually fun to play. This year more than others, April’s fool was a hit.
Google went all out this year. With a few great and a few not so great pranks from the different departments. From the Google Maps team, Ms. Pac Maps. It turns any map on iPhone and Android in a huge Pac-Maps game. It’s actually fun. There is the Bubble Wrap Keyboard, Google Gnome and Haptic Helpers.
Hulu: Hu Short Cuts
Hulu is cutting shows to just a few seconds.
Amazon Echo that can talk to animals.
Lyft: Power Glove
Raise your hand in the air and request a ride.
T-Mobile ONEsie full-body wearable that monitors everything for $40 is fake but I want it!
Lucid: The Haramed Mattress
I don’t know if I want to laugh or smh. I ended up doing both.